A Morning Routine That Makes Them Smile


If your school is like mine, your yard is nonexistent because of construction and the kids are lining up in the hall outside your classroom every morning ten minutes before school starts. In my younger years, I would have considered this a major nuisance. After all, I am not a babysitter and, um, hello, I am doing work here. (Wait, I said “I would have…” Who am I kidding? I DID!)

This year, though, I sense that it is important for me to embrace this brief pre-class time with the children as something that can help them start each day with a smile and a positive vibe.

As such, when I hear the pitter-patter of their feet and the quiet chatter of their voices, I am making it my business to pay them a visit. And it’s not to say, “Hey guys, PIPE DOWN!” Instead, it’s more to say, “Hey, guys, what’s up? How’s everyone doing today? Who is ready to work? Who is ready to have a great day? Who is ready to have fun?”

It is so nice to hear genuinely enthusiastic responses to these questions from the majority of the kids, as opposed to the sing-songy responses that irritate the heck out of me. (Teacher: “Good morning, boys and girls.” Students, “Gooooood mooooorning Mrsssss. So and So.” I mean, honestly, who is that for?)

It is so wonderful to see big smiles early in the morning. Some kids don’t smile with their mouths. They just allow their eyes to light up. That’s awesome, too!

How are the students benefiting? They are reminded daily that they matter to me (and they don’t have to wait long in the day to have this affirmed). They see they matter to me just the way they are, not because of their reading, math, or other abilities. They see they are awesome just because they are themselves.

I like our little routine. It may mean I’m a little less prepared when they walk in. It may mean I sacrifice a few minutes of my productive alone time. It may mean I am looked upon as an oddity.

But, hey, that’s all good in my hood. Because it’s not about me. It’s about them.

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2 responses to “A Morning Routine That Makes Them Smile

  1. “They are reminded daily that they matter to me (and they don’t have to wait long in the day to have this affirmed). ”

    “Because it’s not about me. It’s about them.”

    Thanks for this post! As my teaching has evolved, I’ve found more and more that affirmation, regardless of the child, is so incredibly important.

    That and I love how kids smile with their eyes too. Makes my day when I see that in the morning! 🙂

    Thanks for posting,

    Darin – @aniowateacher

    • I like how you call it affirmation – isn’t it a fine line between that and positive reinforcement? One says what Mr. Rogers taught: “I like you just the way you are,” while the other conditions kids to need approval from others. This doesn’t really have to do with anything, I’m just thinking it.

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